I don’t think the Victorians were anywhere near as joyless as they look in pictures. We wouldn’t be here if they were. This elegantly Victorian woman looks pretty forbidding. Of course we can’t tell, in black and white, what color she is wearing, so we think of the Victorians as dressed in black. She probably wasn’t. And it was not a custom to artificially smile for pictures in that era, so she does not.
Her name was Philomena Reichhardt. She was my paternal grandfather’s grandmother, and her outfit with its wide collar and leg o' mutton sleeves is something to behold. She lived in Germany, which is where this studio photo was taken during the 1880s.
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